End-of-Year Blowout
Wed, May 5
Program to include Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries!
and other operatic excesses...

[mostly on hiatus since 2012]

View demo videos here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Piano Hero: This'n'That

Only two more Wednesdays left in the school year, so we didn't feel we could let either slip by without a little Piano Hero. Tomorrow (April 28) will be a somewhat eclectic selection, though I suppose all the works were written in German-speaking lands within about a 50 year span. I guess I'm just admitting there's no official "theme" this week. However, it's all great music, maybe even less rehearsed than usual! (I've been pondering this quirky idea that "less rehearsed" might be considered a good thing in some contexts. In the meantime, students, don't try this at home! Well, that is, you should try sight-reading for pleasure at home, but rehearsing for upcoming concerts and juries is still considered a good thing.)

OK, so we'll open with Beethoven's stirring "Egmont" Overture, which just so happens to be what the Gordon Symphony Orchestra will be opening with this Saturday night at 7:30pm. A sneak preview, if you will. Come hear it in black-and-white form tomorrow, then return on Saturday for the technicolor version. You can also sample it here.

I'm particularly excited about what we'll play next. In fact, I'll just be playing Mozart's very famous little Sonata in C Major, K. 545, often known as the "Easy" Sonata. You know, the one that goes like this. However, it turns out that Edvard Grieg wrote his own slyly mischievous 2nd piano parts to this and several other Mozart sonatas. They cast a wonderfully different light on this very familiar music, in some cases just supporting the original piano with added sonority, and sometimes adding extra melodic ideas. Very charming, and let's just say that "slyly mischevious" is right up Nathan's alley.

We'll close with the rousing final movement of Mendelssohn's "Reformation" Symphony. Written to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, the symphony's finale is based on Martin Luther's great Reformation hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. So, like the Mozart/Grieg, this is music that builds on a pre-existing musical work. I guess that's kind of a theme.

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